Bet You’re Missing Out!

One of the key skills in consulting is being able to assess people and organizations quickly and efficiently. Professional consultants are constantly honing their assessment skills and abilities. However, when it comes to social media, it is easy to determine if an organization is not leveraging the power of Facebook in an effort to build relationships with current and future customers.
If you are part of a leadership team or organization that believes the following, you are most likely missing out:
1) The only thing people talk about on Facebook is what they’re doing for lunch or dinner!
2) Our policy prohibits employees from “playing around” in Facebook on a company computer or on company time!
3) We delegated our Facebook Page to __________ because they are under 30 and understand that computer stuff!
4) We measure our Facebook success by the number of “likes” we get!
5) We tried it for a couple of weeks and it didn’t do anything for us!

Trust me! If your leadership team is guilty of any of these, you are really missing out on the Facebook movement.
In a recent survey, over 57% of the respondents indicated they spent more time talking to people online than in real life. Like it or not, social media is where the “talking” is happening. Social media success is commonly defined by how effectively you build relationships and social capital. It’s not about what people are doing for lunch. Unless, of course, you’re talking about an event which your company is sponsoring.
If you are not leveraging the power of your team by encouraging them to be Facebook ambassadors and creating a social media policy which describes key dos and don’ts for them to follow, you’re missing out.
Let me ask you this: Would you allow your Facebook page administrator to appear on the noon news to represent your company or organization? Would you hold them accountable to develop and maintain customer relationships? If your response was no, you’re missing out!
Facebook isn’t a quick fix. Facebook success will not come overnight. In fact, success will be an ongoing venture. Furthermore, meaningful measurements are critical to creating a successful Facebook strategy.
When it comes to Facebook, if you believe the aforementioned five points, I bet you’re missing out!

Social Media and Symbiosis

Scientists and biologists have talked about symbiosis, a word derived from the ancient Greek meaning syn- “with” and biosis-“living” since Plato was a pup. In the late 18 hundreds, social scientists began using the term in connection with people living together in mutual relationships. In nature, there are three common types of symbiotic relationships, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic. It is my assertion that these three relationships are also present in our social media world. Which relationship type are you?

Mutualistic relationships are described as a relationship wherein both parties benefit. A great example from nature of this type is the Clown Fish and the sea anemone. A sea anemone has hundreds of poisonous tentacles to ward off predators, but the clown fish is immune to the poison. He hides from his enemies in the tentacles, eats small invertebrates and his waste feeds the anemone. Let’s not take this analogy too far, but the best types of relationships in the social media world are mutualistic, where both parties benefit. There are many great examples of businesses sharing educational and entertaining posts which enhance the lives of their fans. Their fans, in turn, visit the business and serve as ambassadors for their store by recommending you and your page or site.

The Chevrolet MirayCommensalistic relationships are recognized as those in which one party benefits and the other is not harmed or helped in any way. There are few examples of commensalism in nature and in social media, but I think a good example is my photograph of the Miray from the NAIAS. Several dealerships have “borrowed” it for their Facebook cover picture. They benefit by having a striking cover picture and I, in no way am harmed or will I benefit in any way.

Parasitic relationships exist when one party benefits and the other is harmed. We all know people who behave in a parasitic manner. The best thing about social media is, when people act parasitic, you can block or delete them. For what it’s worth, don’t be a social media parasite and don’t accept them in your life.

Social media is based on people “living with” and relating to each other. You and your team can build healthy social media relationships by focusing on becoming more mutualistic.

3 Keys to Building a Sense of Belonging.

Associations are really in the teambuilding business!

Most of my research over the years has been in the area of effective teams. In the past three years I have worked with several associations and have concluded that the elements of success for building highly effective teams are the same for highly effective associations. In order to have a high performing team or association, a strong sense of belonging must exist.

Like teams, associations must focus on this sense of belonging to enhance overall effectiveness and in the case of associations, membership value. Three key elements need to exist in order to facilitate a greater sense of belonging:

Include and exclude

Set boundaries that make membership exclusive to the extent possible and necessary. When the fans enter the “Big House”on Saturday afternoon to watch Michigan play football, there are generally 105,000 that are fans “members” of the Michigan group and 4,000 fans of the other teams. It is easy to see who is in and who is out.

A common language is also very important. Use acronyms, logos, certificates, levels of membership and encourage exclusivity.

A sense of belonging is enhanced through clarity of who is included and who is not.

Safety in numbers-

Humans naturally like to be, or feel a part of something bigger. Neighborhoods, churches, alumni groups, clubs and associations are few examples of organizations people can join and feel comfortable. But comfort commonly doesn’t last. Membership isn’t enough!

Just as in teams, associations and their members must share common goals.

Most people join associations to increase their “bottom line.” Individuals define that “bottom line” in many different ways and the more successful an association is at understanding their member’s “bottom line”, the more value they can deliver. However, if an association maintains a laser-like focus on increasing membership and revenue, it will become apparent to their members and the sense of belonging will be diminished.

Being part of a higher purpose engenders a powerful sense of belonging.

Input/ Output Ratio-

This element is most often misunderstood. People don’t just want more!

Research has shown that people are more satisfied when they feel their results are equal to or greater than their expense. In other words, the more they are involved…the more they get in return. Associations will create a much greater sense of belonging by increasing the input to output ratio. All too frequently, associations center activities around “serving” benefits to their membership while underutilizing their member’s willingness to be more engaged.

Now this is where you are thinking; “This guy is crazy!”

Look, simply asking members to volunteer to perform a task is not what we are talking about here. Doing things does not equal engagement.

In an effort to attain the highest sense of belonging, make sure your members believe they will get more if they give more.

This past Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Michigan football program produced a very high sense of belonging. Just ask the other 104,999 Wolverine fans that were there.

Highly effective teams and associations maintain a high sense of belonging because they set boundaries, share common goals and are engaging.

Go for the Easy Pieces!

There I was, sitting on the patio watching the little sparrow tugging on the three foot piece of ornamental grass from our “Asian Garden.” He (or she) was committed to getting that specific piece of long dead grass to build his nest. He had a plan to build the best nest in the trees. And he wasn’t afraid of hard work, in that he tugged and tugged on this grass for nearly twenty minutes.

All the while, several other sparrows made many trips to retrieve 3-5″ pieces of grass and take them to their nest. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually got several feet of nest building materials while my stubborn little buddy tugged on the well connected winterized blade of grass. Much to my amazement, the feathered little tough guy actually severed the blade from the plant. And yet again, another major task was at hand (or wing). How to get the blade to the nest construction site?

The meager tiny guy looked like an exhausted runner crossing the finish line of a marathon. As he tried to fly the grass would wrap around his body and disable his ability to fly. In what looked like a series of the Wright Brothers first flights, he flew only a foot or two, landed (or crashed), flew another foot or two, crashed and finally got to the tree. Flying up into the tree was another act of determination from this sturdy little creature.

At last, he finally got the 3′ long blade of ornamental grass to the site of his nest. Only to find that it was too inflexible to function as good nest building material. There, nearly twenty feet up the pine was a cluster of unused 2-4′ ornamental grass reeds.

Have you ever felt as though you’re tugging and tugging on your “Big Blade of Grass” hoping for the big payoff? Maybe your plan should allow you to pick up the small easy pieces and build a comfortable nest as opposed to aiming for the “Big Prize” and never getting it.

Make sure you have a realistic plan to achieve your hopes and dreams. Be Your Own Chief Performance Officer!

Did Screw Dad Screw Son???

Being the 5th generation in the family business, Hyland Screw Machine Products, doesn’t guarantee a job. Dan Hyland, whose great-grandfather founded the automotive supplier in 1928, has been making some pretty tough decisions lately and lay offs are one of them.

Due to production cutbacks, Hyland was faced with giving some of his workers their pink-slips. Since his son is one of the newest employees in the company, Dan thought it was only right to lay him off in the first round as well.

It was the right thing to do Dan said. And moreover, when he told his son about his impending lay off, the son told his father that it wouldn’t be right for him to stay on while other good workers were let go.

At The CPO Institute, our primary focus is on values. Companies and people that have well established values and live by those values are successful and sustainable.

Dan Hyland and his son live by a set of time tested values. Being the 5thgeneration in the family business, Hyland Screw Machine Products, doesn’t guarantee a job, but it does guarantee a foundation of solid core values.

No, Dan didn’t screw his son…he helped him learn a valuable lesson. Dan appears to be a man that lives through his values and is a great business man and Dad.

Life is tough sometimes and it is filled with choices. Live by a defined set of values and Don’t Just Do It!

For more on this story check out the local TV report from Dayton, OH on Hyland Screw Machine Products.

Leaders-Is Your Lift Greater than Your Drag?

Two friends of mine were recently featured in a short video about Leadership. Waldo Waldman, fellow NSA member and professional speaker, shared his comparison of leadership to flying an F-16 Fighter jet. Waldo was interviewed by another friend of mine, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Publisher of Selling Power magazine. (Note: If you’re in Sales and you don’t read Selling Power…you’re not as good as you could be.)
I agree with everything Waldo says, but I think there is much more to leadership. What do you think? In your opinion what are other key roles or attributes great leaders exhibit?

See this short video here at Selling There are three videos, so be sure to click on “What Makes a Great Leader?”

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

Generate Change with Workplace Civility

As shoppers in the high-end department store strolled by, it was evident the “manager” was giving the sales clerk, direct (and somewhat hostel) feedback. The young lady was left in tears. It looked like a scene from a Career Builder commercial.
Do you think this young lady enjoys coming to work? Is she fully engaged? Will she look for opportunities to excel? Is she proud to work for this company? Would she consider her workplace to be civil? Probably not!
Daily most of us experience what I refer to as a lack of “workplace civility.” We either observe it externally or live in it internally.




In my Leadership-Don’t Just Do It! program, one segment deals with fostering Workplace Civility. A recent global study was performed by Towers Perrin, a global workforce study organization. It revealed that less than 21% of workers worldwide were engaged in their work. Twenty-One Percent!
The following is a quick review of the five keys to creating a civil, engaged workplace:






Foundational Trust





The organization must have a high level of trust. Employees must trust the leadership and customers/ clients must trust the employees. Employees must truly be valued by the organization. By the way, trust doesn’t result by simply being mentioned in the mission or value statement on the company’s home page.





Clear Expectations





One consistent element in high performing organizations is a thorough uderstanding of what is expected of every employee. Having worked with many companies, large and small, I have observed that this element is a key factor in the overall success of the organization. It’s not enough for employees to know what’s expected of them, but also what they can expect from their leaders and co-workers.





Applicable Skills





Everyone in the organization must have the skills and abilities to accomplish the tasks they are being asked to perform. If an employee is a leader, they require training in leadership skills. If they are a sales professional, then they need training in selling skills. Highly effective organizations truly embrace continued, life-long learning that leads to continuous performance improvement. According to CLO Magazine, economic powerhouse GE spends over $1 billion on training their employees. In today’s difficult economic environment, companies cannot allow their employees performance to erode. Workforce performance improvement is more important now than ever before.





Developmental Feedback





Unlike the earlier story, feedback, more importantly, what I refer to as developmental feedback, is critical to employee engagement. People need to know how they are contributing and how they can go about improving their performance. Companies should measure the right things and recognize the right behaviors.






Attitude of Gratitude





The most civil workplaces are those that have a culture wherein everyone helps one another, including their customers or clients. They are thankful for the organization, for their fellow workers and most importantly, their customers.

Workplace Civility is not something an organization does. It can’t be accomplished. It is a way of thinking and acting that encourages high levels of employee engagement and overall performance. Get a re-printable version of this article at the following link.

Dealing with a Multigenerational Workplace

After my early morning workout, I joined a friend for breakfast. It was supposed to be a quickie then off to other errands. However, when he asked what I thought about the plight of today’s leaders when facing the challenge of managing a multigenerational workforce…well let’s just say the conversation required a healthy tip for our server.
If you want to read an article, in which yours truly is quoted, check out this article entitled Coming of Age in Corporate America. This article is very interesting and views the problem from many different perspectives. Whether generational collaboration is a priority for you or not, it is something for all of us to think about…millennials and boomers. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Great poached eggs and conversation!

Whatever you think, it is abundantly clear, that in Leadership, you “Don’t Just Do It!”

Senator Shelby Recuse Thyself

Occasionally when consulting with Boards of Directors, especially on matters requiring a vote, it is necessary to recuse or withdraw a member from a position of judging so as to avoid any bias or appearance thereof. This past week as the Senate debated the automotive bridge loan, I watched with a tremendous amount of frustration as Senator Shelby of Alabama continued to unabashedly destroy the domestic automotive industry. The fate of our entire nation rests in the hands of a man that simply wants the Big 3 to fail.

Why would that be a priority to Shelby?

At the end of this entry, I have given you a link to see what automotive industry currently resides in Alabama. When you look at this list, it appears as though you might be reviewing an industry site in Japan. Here are some of the automotive companies in Alabama; Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Yachiyo Manufacturing, Kwang-Sung, Hwashin and more. Not one General Motors, Ford or Chrysler. Now it is abundantly clear why Shelby has that continuous grin that looks strangely familiar to the one my cat gets when she has destroyed another Christmas ornament.

Admittedly, in the last ten years these, non-Big 3, companies have brought 35,000 new jobs to Alabama. Again, let me remind you that I talk to people about the need and importance of setting their personal and professional priorities and Shelby has his; protect 35,000 jobs in Alabama and kill 2-3 million automotive associated jobs elsewhere in the United States.

Then Senator Shelby makes a statement about how the Big 3 can’t design or build the cars that Americans want to drive. Rest assured the Senator hasn’t driven a CTS, Tahoe or a Corvette

My Corvette in the Garden of the Gods

My Corvette in the Garden of the Gods

lately. When he makes statements like that, it’s obvious he also hasn’t taken a test drive in the Malibu, G-6 or Mustang. The Big 3 also offer some of the best trucks in the world, and people want them!

Don’t get me wrong! Many American companies lack the true leadership to get through tough times. An old Economics Professor at U of M told us there are two ways to grow profit: Increase revenue or decrease cost. Many of today’s “leaders” take the ostensibly easy way and cut costs. Layoff people, cut quality and/or quantity, reduce programs and training…cut, cut, cutting their way to profitability. Significant changes in the leadership must be made and perhaps a strong “Car Czar” is a good idea.

Don’t get me started on greed! There is more than enough to go around. Company executives and the bonuses are merely out of control. The UAW has “United” itself out of working on autos. Both sides better get real, real quick. Everybody needs to cut back, but not just in automotive. Everything from Dockers to Doctors needs to reduce their pricing. Greed is aplenty and we will not survive if we allow it to cloud our vision as we set our priorities and make important decisions.

That brings me back to the Senator from Alabama.

This article might likely cost me a speaking gig or two because it will upset someone in a key decision making position. But, in difficult times, we ALL need to stand up for what we believe. Whenever we find ourselves entrusted with a leadership position, we cannot let greed and individual priorities get in the way of doing what is right and just for the greater good, not just for my business, or your industry, or the Senator Shelby’s state.

Another point must be made in this regard. If Carl Levin, D-MI were in a leadership role on this committee, I would also recommend he remove himself from facilitating the discussion on this topic. He too would have such a vested interest in the outcome that his judgment would be clouded and overly biased.

In closing, let me say it is apparent that Senator Shelby believes in doing what’s good for Alabama and has made that his priority. He certainly is not focused on what is necessarily good for the people of the entire United States.

Senator, shouldn’t you recuse yourself?


See The Alabama Industry Profile:


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Take Negotiations to the Dogs

Whenever I am working with sales teams, the topic of effective negotiations often arises. In my thirty years of sales experience, I have attended many hours of negotiations training. For the record, the best was from the Karrass organization and my friend Frank Mobus, but I digress.
Another rich negotiation experience was when I served as a Labor negotiator for General Motors with (or against) the UAW. Keep in mind, I don’t teach negotiation skills, but I often share several of the best tips I have learned over the years. One of which is what I call “the confused dog look.” Whenever your customer or the “other side” offers a counter-proposal or a concern, just simply tilt your head and don’t say a thing. Most of the time they will drop their issue, recant there statement, or better yet simply agree with your proposal.
Why this topic today?
This morning I saw the best example of how to teach this technique. So thanks to YouTube, here is a great 30 second video example of the “Confused Dog Look.”   Enjoy!
If improving your effective negotiation skill is a high priority for you, and why wouldn’t it be if you are in sales, try this…it works!